In this episode of Eat the Rules, I’m continuing the body image series, talking about what body neutrality looks like in everyday life with some specific examples.
I also explore how body neutrality is a gateway to having more time and energy for things that will give you more purpose and satisfaction in life.
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This episode of eat the rules is brought to you by you on fire you on fire is the online group coaching program that I run that gives you a step by step way of building up your self worth beyond your appearance. With personalized coaching from me incredible community support and lifetime access to the program so that you can get free from body shame and live life on your own terms. Get details on what’s included and sign up for the next cycle at summer innanen.com forward slash you on fire. I’d love to have you in that group. This is eat the rules, a podcast about body image self worth, anti dieting, and intersectional feminism. I am your host summer Innanen. a professionally trained coach specializing in body image self worth and confidence and the best selling author of body image remix. If you’re ready to break free of societal standards and stop living behind the number on your scale, then you have come to the right place. Welcome to the show.
This is episode 260. And it’s a another segment in the body image series. I’m talking about what body neutrality looks like in everyday life with some specific examples. You can find the links mentioned at summer innanen.com forward slash 260. I want to give a shout out to Sue’s Protractor who left this review. I’ve known for a while body acceptance was a key step to my evolutionary journey and figured a decent podcast might help get me there. I happened upon your podcast and have been listening daily for about a month. It’s been wonderful. I can already feel the shift in the way I think about my body and my worth. Thank you for doing what you do summer.
Thank you so much for leaving this review. It means a lot to me. So cool that you listened to it every day. Wow. That’s hardcore. I appreciate it though. I’m so glad it made a difference. You can leave a review by going to Apple podcasts search for eat the rules and click ratings and reviews and click to leave a review or give it a rating. You can also subscribe to this show. Just punch that little button wherever you listen to podcasts. And that always helps people find the show as well. If you haven’t already done so grab the free 10 Day body confidence makeover at summer innanen.com. Forward slash freebies with 10 steps to take right now to feel better in your body. And if you are a professional who works with people who may also have body image struggles, get the free body image coaching roadmap at summer innanen.com forward slash roadmap in the last episode 159 No, sorry. 259 Oh my god, I can’t believe I put 159 No, we’re 100 episodes ahead of that summer. Geez. Okay. Wait a minute, where are we? Yeah, do it like what? 159? Okay, so in the previous episode, Episode 259, I think I just lost two years of my life. We talked about
what a positive body image like how to sort of measure that and how to assess that, and sort of what are the things I look for. And I gave you the quiz, the body image benchmark quiz or assessment quiz. And you can get that in the show notes for that episode, if you want a copy so that you can take the quiz yourself, it’s at summer innanen.com, forward slash 259.
And so what I wanted to do that was kind of looking at like, okay, what are the signs and symptoms of a body image that maybe could use some support. And so what I wanted to do was talk about the other side of the spectrum, and do a really quick episode talking about what body neutrality looks like. And like how that actually looks in everyday life. I’ve done a more in depth episode on body neutrality before that would be Episode 214, all about body neutrality. And you can check that out. If you want to hear me speak to this, I’ll just kind of give you my overall definition of body neutrality. And it’s really like two things that I sort of look for it’s your emotions, and how attached those are to how you look like does your appearance really dictate your overall emotional state? And the second thing I look for is, does your appearance dictate how you value yourself, you know, does the size of your body determine how you feel about yourself on a certain day, what we want to do is really detach those two things from how we look and get to a place where we were how we look and how we feel about ourselves as a whole doesn’t have anything to do with how we look? Did I say that? So how we like the emotions that we have, and how we value ourselves as a whole. We don’t want those to be tied to how we look. So that’s really what I’m looking for. When I work with people. That’s what I help people with. And that’s really just like a first step right? Like that’s getting to body neutrality. And of course we can move past that to where you really appreciate your body or feel confident in your body but I just feel like buying trolleys is like more easier to get to. And also just gets you to the space that like you feel so much better and you have so much more mental space, you may still have thoughts about your body, either positive or negative, but they’re not going to make or break you or hold that same power over you. So for example, when you see yourself you in mirror, you don’t get that like feeling where you’ve been washed over and shame or panic. Or even like that elated feeling, if you perceive yourself as having lost weight, it’s just like a very neutral reaction. It’s like, oh, hey, there I am. And I also really want to say that this doesn’t mean like, being feeling more neutral. And getting to a place of by neutrality doesn’t mean that you don’t feel a certain way, if you experienced discrimination for your body, it’s really difficult to be neutral about your body in a culture that has body hierarchies, if you experience oppression due to your identity. So I would never say like, you should just be totally fine if the doctor discriminates against you like, that’s not what we’re saying. That’s not what I’m saying here at all, it’s really important to know that your body is not the problem, and that the culture is the problem. And so when I speak about body neutrality, I’m really talking about your own relationship with your body, your own perception of it. And any sort of experiences that you have that might reflect the dominant cultures experience. And that’s your, you know, it’s totally normal and valid to have an emotional reaction to that, I do think it’s still important to really detach that from like, your own perception of your body, meaning, like, be mad at the culture, don’t think there’s something wrong with you. And I also just always want to know that I come from a place of privilege, because I’m gonna, I’m white, I’m in a straight sized body, I don’t experience discrimination based on my body. So therefore, it’s always easier for me to it would be easier for me to feel neutral in my body. And that’s important for me to forget to mention. So with body neutrality, I really liked that as the initial goal, because if you’re constantly fixated on your body are feeling anxiety or shame about it. And it’s really hard to imagine not feeling that way anymore. So if we can get to a place of body neutrality as a first step, it just becomes easier. It feels more doable, right? Then feeling confident in your body every day. Like do I want people to feel confident their body? Sure, of course. But I don’t think that’s always the most realistic or achievable. And body neutrality is a better starting point. I also have issues with the whole Love Your Body messaging that I talked about in episode 213, it was called rant on loving your body and body positivity. So you can check that out, if you want to hear me speak to that. Right now, I want to give you 10 specific examples of body neutrality. This is sort of like what we’re going for. Or if you want to, you don’t have to, but if when I’m working with people, this is generally where we’re what we’re what we’re aiming for. So number one, I’m seeing a picture of yourself that you don’t like, and you don’t feel any emotional reaction to it. So kind of like seeing a picture of a car that you don’t like, like you see a picture of this like brown stationwagon, you’re like, oh, I don’t like that. That’s kind of how I want us to be if we don’t like a picture of ourselves. So rather than feeling that heat in your chest, or that knot in your stomach, that sense of disgust or shame or sadness, it’s just neutral. Okay, I don’t like that picture. Done, boom, move on with your life. Another example number two is noticing yourself in the mirror and liking the way that you look and thinking like, Hey, I look cute, you might have a little bit of an undercurrent of some sort of a good feeling about it. And you may not, and it’s okay to have some sort of a positive feeling because confidence does feel good. We just don’t want that being the thing that we’re chasing, and using to validate our worth. So being able to sort of observe it and notice it and be like, Yeah, I look cute. Oh, that feels good, cool, and still move on with your life and not have it be something that we’re constantly chasing or thinking like, I’m a better person because of this. Number three, having to buy a larger pant size and being at peace with it. So just being like, Kate, these pants don’t fit me I had to get new snow pants recently. My old ones could not even get them anywhere close to being over my hips. I was like how was I ever this small but apparently I was and so I had to get new ones. I was just like, okay, yeah, gotta go up a few sizes here. And that’s it. Like it’s just neutral. It’s kind of like I’m out of pasta. I need to buy more like you know, just neutral. I will caveat this was saying that like if accessibility is an issue, then like it’s totally normal to have feelings about that. Like if you have to go up a size and you have you know, you no longer have access easier access to clothing like you you know, the most stores that carry straights as closing let’s say that they wouldn’t have your size anymore like total really normal to have feelings about that, that is really disappointing and really hard. Or if you do not have the financial means to be able to buy, you know, another pair of pants or things like that, like any feelings around that are totally valid at same time, it would be separate from thinking that your body is the problem. So it’s more like, I’m really angry at our culture, I’m really angry at the fact that, you know, accessibility is still such an issue. But it’s not about like, my body is the problem. So the fourth example I have here is if you need to buy a smaller size, so if you have to buy a smaller size of pants, or something like that, and not being elated with that, so when we, when we’re working on body acceptance, we’re really working on making that acceptance, unconditional. And so it’s, it works both ways. We want to try and undo anti fat bias as a whole. So not just like fear of weight gain, but also like, you know, desire to be smaller. It’s, it’s a normal and conditioned response to feel happy if your body gets smaller, like that’s been so hard coded into our minds. But I think I still think it’s really important to try to fight back against that and just be like, Okay, it’s just neutral, my body maybe got smaller, for some reason, number five example is missing a few days of working out, and it being no big deal, versus that being something that really increases feelings of shame or anxiety about your body. So just being like, oh, like, I had to take a bunch of days off this week, no big deal. Move on with your life. Number six, for an example of bio neutrality is putting your hand on your tummy and just feeling at peace. This is where I do a lot of specialized and individualized work with people to become more integrated with how our body feels, because I think a lot of us kind of just walk around like, up in our heads completely detached from our bodies, we don’t even want to like process how our body looks and feels. And so I’m really about integrating those two things so that we can be come to a place of neutrality and be like, Okay, here’s my body, whether that’s, this is my tummy, I can feel it, or that’s my tummy, I can see it in the mirror. And I feel totally just like nothing much about it, I just feel at peace, or I feel a calm or just like, that’s it. Number seven is stepping out of the shower and seeing your whole body in the mirror. And that’s it. Like, you don’t feel anything about that. You’re just like, Okay, what am I doing next, like brushing my hair, or to put on underwear, like whatever it is, number eight is going to social events and feeling at ease. So you may have some negative thoughts drift in, but you’re able to really stay present and feel comfortable in the presence of others. Assuming these are safe people in your life obviously if like there are a whole bunch of like assholes, then you know, yeah, you may feel a little bit may feel a certain way in that environment. But assuming these are safe people in your life, just feeling really at ease, not sort of like fixating on like adjusting your shirt or like feeling really less than like just just feeling at ease and being really present. That’s, that’s a, that’s a great sign of just being neutral in your body. Number nine is going to,
let’s just say you go to like a fitness class or a dance class or something, and really focusing on how your body feels versus how it looks or comparing yourself to others. You’re just in the moment, you’re feeling the music and the movements. And you’re just totally present with that. And you’re not like worrying about your body or what other people are thinking of your body. And then the last example I have number 10 is seeing an older picture of yourself when you were thinner. Let’s say you were an or when you were younger, as many of us were, and not comparing yourself to that or feeling less than like not thinking like, oh gosh, I really wish I look like that or what’s wrong with me now. Now you might have feelings about it that reflect sort of, you know, maybe like self compassion for what you went through, like, wow, I wish I I wish I’d really just valued myself back then. Or I wish I hadn’t dieted so much back then. But you’re not feeling inadequate. Now as a result of how you used to look and it doesn’t make you want to change or alter how you look now. So these are just a few examples, some common ones and ones I hear from people that I’ve worked with some ones that I’ve experienced in my own life. And I think what’s really is a common thread here is just, you know, the absence of like that negativity and those huge feelings of inadequacy, as well as what’s replaced that is just a sense of calm, like a sense of peace and feelings of, of just being like at ease. And really being present, I think is the other thing that you know, is a really common thread here is just not being up in your head just being really present with what is and and that’s truly I mean, that’s just what acceptance is. So it doesn’t mean that you don’t have any negative thoughts. Rather, it’s about really, you know, reducing those and more specifically reducing their emotional charge so that they just don’t have like such a power over you. We can notice them we can move through them. And we’re in that just a more rounded state of mind, your appearance doesn’t have that emotional charge, like I said, and it just doesn’t define who you are, you’re not thinking like, Oh, God, you know, I’m a terrible person, or there’s something wrong with me as a result of my body. I also just want to mention here that feelings are not static, this is not just turn on, it’s not like just one day, you’re like I’ve crossed over, this is how I am now, I’m body neutral. So you’re likely going to kind of feel this way, like it’s going to come in with little sort of sparks of it, little seeds will be planted. And then the more that you kind of invest in, you know, working through the thoughts and working through your feelings, then the more that you’re sort of like fertilizing and watering those seeds, and the more that they grow, and then the more that that state of being will really become your baseline, and what you’ve worked so hard to change, the thoughts that you’ve worked so hard to change will become your dominant thoughts, instead of the old way of thinking where you are constantly critiquing yourself or worrying about your body size. So we really gain a lot of mental space by being in this place, that emotional weight being lifted is huge. And you can really just care and tend to your whole self in such a better way, when you’re not letting your body size dictate what you should do. And it’s really like the outcome of body neutrality. It’s like, it’s these things that I mentioned. And that’s great. Like, that’s, that’s, that’s amazing. But what is really like the cherry on top of that is what you’re able to do with that extra time and energy and what you’re able to do by being in a more present and grounded and peaceful state. Like that’s really where the beauty of this work comes in. And so you might have more time to just relax, because maybe you were completely stressed out all the time, you may have more time to get involved in activism, read the 10 books on your shelf that you’ve been wanting to read, be more social, you might be able to volunteer, you might be able to be more present in your relationships, like if you’re a parent, you might be able to just be more present with your child, the ripple effect into our life is is really significant. I’ve seen it impact so many different areas of people’s lives, they maybe start to, like become a writer, or they start to volunteer or they just feel like they’re a better parent. Like it’s just so many different things that I’ve seen. And so I really want to be clear that like the body neutrality is really kind of like this gateway to then, you know, being more open to having time and energy for other things that are really going to give you a greater sense of purpose in your life and a greater sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. And that’s what’s really beautiful too. And sometimes it’s just about having more mental space because like that is something we can all benefit from. All right. Do you have some examples about body neutrality that you want to share with me maybe some things that you’ve noticed in your own life, you can feel free to send me an email, send me a message on Instagram or Facebook. I’d love to hear from you. And I hope you enjoyed this episode, you can find all the links and resources mentioned at summer innanen.com forward slash 260. And I’ll be back again with another body image series episode next week. Thanks so much for being here today. Rock on.
I’m Summer Innanen. And I want to thank you for listening today. You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook at summer Innanen. And if you haven’t yet, go to Apple podcasts search eat the rules and subscribe rate and review this show. I would be so grateful. Until next time, rock on.
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